Archive for June, 2010

Brackman Falls To 0-2 In Trenton Loss

June 30, 2010

(PR) New Britain, CT- The Rock Cats scored three runs in the fifth inning and held on to beat the Thunder in the series finale 3-1 on Wednesday afternoon at New Britain Stadium. With the loss, the Thunder fall to 47-31 on the year.

Trenton struck first in the top of the third inning, as Austin Krum singled off RHP Kyle Gibson with two outs, and was then driven in on an RBI double by Austin Romine to give the Thunder a 1-0 lead.

RHP Andrew Brackman made his second start for the Thunder and allowed just one hit through four innings. However, in the fifth inning, Brackman (0-2) walked the lead off hitter Jair Fernandez and surrendered a double down the right field line to Mark Dolenc. Fernandez scored from first base, and after a throwing error by Justin Snyder to third base, Dolenc came around to score the tying run. After Brackman walked Danny Lehmann, the right-hander gave up an RBI double to Chris Parmelee to score Lehmann from first base, and the Rock Cats went up 3-1 after five innings.

Gibson (5-3) earned his second straight victory for New Britain as he allowed one run on five hits and struck out four in 6 2/3 innings of work. Loek Van Mil silenced the Thunder in the eighth inning, and Bill Bullock came on in the ninth inning to shut Trenton down for his second consecutive save.

In the loss, Matt Cusick went 3-for-four with a double. Justin Snyder collected two doubles.

Trenton returns home to face the Harrisburg Senators on Thursday night at 7:05 PM. RHP David Phelps makes the start for the Thunder, while the Senators go with LHP Ross Detwiler. For tickets, call 609-394-3300 or online at

Cox Called Up, Duff To The DL

June 30, 2010

The Trenton Thunder have received P J.B. Cox (pictured) from High-A Tampa and transferred P Grant Duff to the disabled list.

Cox, who struggled after coming back from arm issues, mysteriously left the Thunder last season and was believed to have retired.  Not so.  He resurfaced early this season and has appeared in five games for Tampa.  He’s 0-1 with an 8.59 ERA, having allowed 14 hits and two walks in 7.1 innings of work.  He’s struck out just four batters and has a batting average against of .400.  Here’s hoping Coxie can get things straightened out up here, surprising as it may be that Trenton’s the place he’ll be attempting to do that.

No word on what the issue is with Duff.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Cervelli Bobbleheads Friday Night…Will Yours Be Signed?

June 30, 2010

Five lucky Thunder fans will be taking home an Autographed Francisco Cervelli Bobblehead Doll on Friday July 2, on Hyundai Francisco Cervelli Bobblehead Doll Night. The first 2,000 fans entering the ballpark will receive a bobblehead. Randomly mixed within those 2,000 are five that Francisco Cervelli signed at Yankee Stadium on June 29th. The five will be mixed in at different gates. When a fan opens up the box, if they see a picture of Francisco signing their bobblehead under the lid, then they have one of the five.

A Thunder official was at the Stadium yesterday getting these signed.  Here’s a photo of Cervelli with his bobblehead.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Projected Starters

June 30, 2010

That would be Andrew Brackman (in New Britain), David Phelps, Lance Pendleton, D.J. Mitchell and Hector Noesi.  If nothing changes, I’ll be there for Phelps and Pendleton’s outings, and then taking the weekend off. 

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Mr. Popularity Becomes Mr. Pinstripes

June 30, 2010

In 2008, Kevin Russo was named the Trenton Thunder Fan Favorite.  The Colorado native hit .307 with two home runs and 33 RBI in 71 games, and came back from two health scares that season — he missed significant time after being struck in the face by a batting practice ground ball, and was taken out of the lineup early in the season after blood tests revealed the platelet count in his blood was too low.

After a standout season in Scranton in 2009, in which his .326 average was third best in the International League, Russo again began 2010 in Triple-A, but was optimistic that he would have an opportunity in the big leagues when I spoke to him in April.

I visited with Russo and Colin Curtis at Coca-Cola Park in Buffalo just two months ago.  It was freezing cold, there were maybe 2,000 people in the stands, seagulls were flying low over the stadium, and Scranton got shut out.  Not a good day.  Just a month and a half later, however, Russo had been summoned to the big leagues.  At least for now, his days of small crowds and minor league spreads are over…

I recently was able to catch up with the 25-year-old infielder in the Yankee Stadium clubhouse.  Here’s how the conversation went…

Mike Ashmore: The last time we talked, you were playing in front of a handful of people on a freezing cold day.  Now, you’ve got around 50,000 people watching your every move at Yankee Stadium…can you take me through the moment you first found out you were coming up to the big leagues?

Kevin Russo: “It was crazy.  It’s what you sit there and work for your whole life.  You sit and wait for that moment, and it finally came.  It was a great feeling.  I’ve been having a great time so far.  Miley called me into the office and said, ‘Hey, get your stuff together, you’re going to New York,’  That’s basically how it happens.  It was right after a game.”

Ashmore: Were you surprised at all?

Russo: “Yeah, I guess.  I didn’t ask any questions, I just got my stuff ready and went.  (Laughs)  But yeah, I was definitely a little surprised.”

Ashmore: Whether it be on the field or off the field…is there anything that you weren’t expecting up here?  Anything surprising?

Russo: “I knew there was going to be a lot of media.  I knew that coming in, they explained that to us.  I’ve seen it in spring training, so I kind of knew the atmosphere a little bit, but this is obviously a different world.  I’m still learning stuff every day.  I couldn’t even tell you some of the things.  It’s been great so far.”

Ashmore: Is there any sense of…not necessarily being awestruck, but being a little overwhelmed when you first got up here, or does spring training kind of help out with that?

Russo: “I think spring definitely helps.  But at the same time, it’s twice as much during the regular season…but still, you get a little bit prepared for it during spring training, which is good, it’s a good start.  I don’t know if I could say I was prepared for it, but I knew what was going to happen when I came in.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Noesi Fires Complete Game Shutout In Doubleheader Split

June 29, 2010

(PR) New Britain, CT- Two Trenton errors in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader were the difference in a split on the day, as the Thunder dropped game two to the Rock Cats, 5-2. In the first game, Trenton shut out New Britain 4-0. With the split, Trenton goes to 47-30 on the year.

In game one, Trenton scored three runs in the fourth inning off RHP Mike McCardell (0-9), highlighted by a pair of run-scoring singles from Brandon Laird and Kevin Smith. In the fourth inning off McCardell, Austin Krum slugged a solo home run to right field to give Trenton a 4-0 lead at the end of five innings.

RHP Hector Noesi (5-1) pitched a complete game and shut down New Britain, as he allowed just five hits and struck out four. Noesi has now pitched at least seven innings in his last five starts.

In game two, Trenton picked up a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning off LHP Tyler Robertson (1-7). Laird knocked in another run with a single to left field, and Jose Gil drove in Austin Romine to give the Thunder the two run lead. However in the bottom half of the third, New Britain answered back with two runs on two hits off LHP Wilking de la Rosa. The two runs were both unearned, as a fielding error by Brandon Laird with two outs led to both runs coming around to score.

In the sixth inning off Ryan Pope (2-4), the Rock Cats went ahead 5-2, as they scored three runs on just one hit. Pope walked two batters with two outs, and both runners scored on a throwing error by Austin Krum. A wild pitch by Pope allowed the third run of the inning to come in and score. RHP Brian Bullock notched his first save for New Britain as he retired the side in order in the top of the seventh inning.

Trenton and New Britain close out their series on Wednesday afternoon at 12:05 PM. RHP Andrew Brackman makes his second start for Trenton, while RHP Kyle Gibson starts for New Britain.

Romine, Laird, Phelps, Pendleton Named To All-Star Team

June 29, 2010

(PR) (Trenton, NJ)- The Trenton Thunder, Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, in conjunction with the Eastern League, today announced that four Thunder players, C Austin Romine, 3B Brandon Laird, RHP David Phelps and RHP Lance Pendleton (pictured) have been selected to play in the 2010 Eastern League All-Star Game on Wednesday, July 14th at Metro Bank Park in Harrisburg, PA.

C Austin Romine represents the Thunder after batting .286 with five home runs, 41 RBI and a team-high 20 doubles so far this season. Romine entered 2010 as the #2 ranked prospect by Baseball America and batted a combined .325 during the first two months of the season. Romine has collected two separate hitting streaks of over ten games including a team-high 14 game streak earlier in the year. Romine was also selected to participate in the XM Futures Game in Anaheim during the MLB All-Star break.

3B Brandon Laird currently leads all of professional baseball with 77 RBI in 75 games played while his 19 home runs leads the Eastern League. Laird has driven in seven runs in a game twice this season and on May 26 against Erie Laird became the second player in franchise history to hit for the cycle. Laird completed the cycle with a walk-off homerun in a 7-6 win. He currently leads the EL in HR (19) RBI (77) Hits (87) Extra-Base Hits (38) Runs Scored (59) Total Bases (166) and is fourth in Slugging (.559).

RHP David Phelps is 6-0 on the year and his 2.04 ERA is second in the Eastern League. The Notre Dame product leads the league in strikeouts (84) and has held opponents to a .199 batting average against, also tops in the league. A 14th round draft pick by the Yankees in 2008, Phelps has made 14 starts for the first-place Thunder and has not lost a game since August 18, 2009.

RHP Lance Pendleton has compiled a 6-3 record with a 3.70 ERA in 15 starts for Trenton. Pendleton has won five of his last six decisions and has pitched six or more innings in five of his last seven outings. A 4th round pick in 2004 from Rice University, Pendleton is second on the team in innings pitched (80.1) and strikeouts (71) trailing only Phelps in both categories.

Below are the rosters for the 2010 Eastern League All-Star Game:

Brian Jeroloman (NH)*
Austin Romine (TRE)*

Shawn Bowman (NH)
Tagg Bozied (REA)
Ray Chang (POR)
Nick Evans (BNG)
Luis Hernandez (BNG)
Brandon Laird (TRE)
Matt Rizzotti (REA)*
Nate Spears (POR)*

Darin Mastroianni (NH)
Kirk Nieuwenhuis (BNG)*
Ben Revere (NB)*
Eric Thames (NH)

Kyle Gibson (NB)*
Kyle Drabek (NH)*
Stephen Fife (POR)*
Deolis Guerra (NB)
Trystan Magnuson (NH)
Lance Pendleton (TRE)
David Phelps (TRE)*
Michael Schwimer (REA)
Josh Stinson (BNG)*
Vance Worley (REA)*

Field Staff: New Britain Rock Cats (Manager Jeff Smith)


Jhonatan Solano (HAR)
Hector Gimenez (ALT)

Lonnie Chisenhall (AKR)*
Brandon Crawford (RIC)
Danny Espinosa (HAR)*
Joel Guzman (BOW)
Matt Hague (ALT)*
Josh Harrison (ALT)
Chris Marrero (HAR)
Michael Martinez (HAR)

Andy Dirks (ERI)*
John Drennen (AKR)
Tyler Henson (BOW)*
Thomas Neal (RIC)*

Zach Britton (BOW)* %
Brooks Brown (ERI)*
Rafael Cova (RIC)
Pedro Beaton (BOW)
Derek Hankins (ALT)
Daryl Maday (RIC)*
Rafael Martin (HAR)
Tom Milone (HAR)*
Rudy Owens (ALT)*
Zach Simons (ERI)
Bryce Stowell (AKR)*

Field Staff: Harrisburg Senators (Manager Randy Knorr)

* = Fan Vote
% = unable to pitch in game due to Futures Game participation

Each roster consists of 24 players, including at least three players from each of the Eastern League’s 12 teams. At least one position player, and one pitcher, from each team were selected by fans through online and stadium balloting. The remaining selections were made through voting by league media, managers and officials.

This is the first All-Star Game since the Richmond Flying Squirrels replaced the Connecticut Defenders and the teams were re-aligned into new Eastern and Western Divisions. The Eastern Division is comprised of the Binghamton Mets, New Britain Rock Cats, New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Portland Sea Dogs, Reading Phillies and Trenton Thunder while the teams in the Western Division include the Akron Aeros, Altoona Curve, Bowie Baysox, Erie SeaWolves, Harrisburg Senators and Richmond Flying Squirrels.

The Thunder are currently on the road at New Britain and will return to Waterfront Park on Thursday, July 1 to face the Harrisburg Senators in a four game weekend series. Tickets are available by calling 609-394-3300 or online at

Brewer, Mitchell Lead Thunder To Win

June 28, 2010

(PR) New Britain, CT- The Thunder scored four runs in the second inning on their way to taking the first game of the series against the Rock Cats by a score of 8-2 on Monday at New Britain Stadium. With the win, the Thunder improve to 46-29 on the year.

After each team scored a run in the first inning, Trenton touched up RHP Carlos Guttierez (3-6), for four runs on three hits in the second, capped off by a two-run double from Daniel Brewer to give Trenton a 5-1 lead.

RHP DJ Mitchell (6-3) bounced back after a rough start on June 23 to hold New Britain to two runs on two hits and struck out seven in seven innings pitched. The Rock Cats were able to score their second run off Mitchell in the fifth inning, as Juan Portes came in on a ground out by Ben Revere.

The Thunder tacked on another run in the eighth inning on an RBI single from Brewer, scoring Luis Nunez, who doubled with one out earlier in the frame. In the ninth, Edwar Gonzalez’s RBI double drove in Austin Romine, and scored on a base hit to right field from Kevin Smith to increase Trenton’s lead to 8-2.

Every Thunder batter recorded a hit except for Romine, who walked three times. Kevin Whelan and Josh Schmidt each tossed a scoreless inning in relief of Mitchell.

The Thunder and Rock Cats play a doubleheader on Tuesday evening starting at 5:05 PM. In Game one, RHP Hector Noesi starts for Trenton, while New Britain counters with LHP Tyler Robertson. In Game two, LHP Wilkin de la Rosa get the ball for the Thunder, and the Rock Cats start RHP Mike McCardell.

The Future Is Now For Romine

June 28, 2010

Sure, Trenton Thunder starting pitcher Hector Noesi is headed to the 2010 XM All-Star Futures Game in Anaheim.  A nice honor, no question. 

But Austin Romine and Tony Franklin?  They’re headed home.

The 21-year-old Trenton catcher was greeted with an envelope on his chair in the Erie Seawolves visiting clubhouse that broke the news to him, and was thrilled to see that he’d be getting a chance to head back to his home state during the baseball season.

“I grew up 20 minutes from the stadium, I used to go to Angels games all the time.  I’ve been going there since I was eight,” Romine said.

“I immediately called my dad and my family.  I have to get like 40 tickets, my whole entire family is going.  It should be fun.  It’s such an honor to be considered the future, I guess you could say.”

Romine said that the Futures Game hadn’t even crossed his mind and that he’d forgotten all about it, instead wondering if he’d be selected to the Eastern League All-Star Game.  Now he’ll be getting a chance to play at Angel Stadium of Anaheim for just the second time, his first since high school.

“I did a showcase there one time, there was this thing called Angels Elite out in California,” he said.

“They take the best high school guys before the draft, like 17-year-olds, and you play a game there against junior colleges.  So yeah, I’ve played there, but I was a little young and I didn’t know how to hit with wood.  It’ll be a lot more fun going around this time.”

Romine will be reunited with Oakland Athletics farmhand Grant Green, who he grew up playing in a travel league with, and Royals prospect Mike Moustakas, who played in many showcases with Romine as well as the Arizona Fall League, which also featured Rangers pitcher Tanner Scheppers.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun, knowing the guys I’m playing with,” Romine said.

“All those guys are going home too, because those guys are from Southern California, too.  It’s going to be an awesome time for all of us.”

Franklin, a Los Angeles native himself, understood the significance of the selection for his young catcher.

“Romine’s from California, like I am,” he said.

“Going home is probably the most exciting thing that we can do.  This is his first opportunity to play in front of some hometown fans and family, and I know he’s got to be thrilled about that, plus the fact the kid’s been putting together a pretty good year as well.  The Major League stage that they’re going to be on, it says a lot about where they are going to be in a couple of years.”

There was one California native, however, who Romine was surprised wouldn’t be joining him in Anaheim: Brandon Laird.

“Granted, it’s a tough situation with A-Rod at third, but he’s having an outstanding year,” Romine said.

“It’s fun to watch when I’m on base or I’m in the dugout, he’s just having a monster year.  I was a little surprised there.  Phelps has been pitching great for us.  We have a couple guys who could have gone.  But that’s how it goes, I guess.”

While Laird was unable to get into his first Futures Game, this will be Franklin’s fourth.  And while his exact role remains uncertain, his previous experiences have him happy just to be invited back again.

“You have no idea how exciting it is until you’re there,” he said.

“I didn’t know until I was there, and this is my fourth one.  I’m probably more excited about this one more than any of them, simply because I’m going home.  My grandchildren will be there, and my wife will be there, and my children will be there.  I’m pretty excited about it.  After 40 years in the game, I’m always still excited about going and participating in front of my family.  It’s a good feeling.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Thunder Fall Back Into First Place Tie

June 27, 2010

(PR) Trenton, NJ- New Hampshire scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning to finish a come-from-behind 8-6 victory on Sunday over the Thunder at Waterfront Park. Grant Duff suffered the loss with key hits from RF Adam Loewen and 1B Jonathan Jaspe. The two teams are once again tied for first place in the EL Eastern Division.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning, Loewen smashed a double to tie the game at 6-6. The next batter, Jaspe, singled in two runs off Duff to take an 8-6 lead. Tim Collins pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning for his sixth save of the year.

In the beginning, New Hampshire took advantage of a labored RHP Lance Pendleton, scoring one run each in the second and third innings. The run in the third came after Manny Mayorson stole third base, and the throw from C Jose Gil sailed down the left field line to score Mayorson.

The Thunder took the lead in the third inning, as they plated four runs off LHP Boomer Potts, highlighted by a three-run double by Gil. A sacrifice fly to right field by Luis Nunez scored Gil to make it 4-2 Thunder at the end of three innings.

The Fisher Cats cut the Trenton lead to 4-3 in the top of the sixth inning off Wilkins Arias, as Jonathan Jaspe hit a single and was later driven in on a double by Jonathan Diaz. New Hampshire tied the game 4-4 in the top of the eighth off Tim Norton. Matt Liuzza drove in Adam Loewen, who led off with a walk, to score the tying run.

Trenton was able to get the lead right back in the bottom of the eighth off Danny Farquhar. After Farquhar walked Gil to lead off the frame, Marcos Vechionacci hit an RBI double to the left-center field gap to score Gil and give the Thunder a 5-4 lead. It was Vechionacci’s third hit on the afternoon. Farquhar walked Austin Romine with the bases loaded to make it 6-4 Trenton.

Trenton next travels to New Britain to start a weekday series with the Rock Cats, starting on Monday at 6:35 PM. RHP DJ Mitchell makes the start for the Thunder. New Britain will start RHP Carlos Gutierrez.